Pensions (21 - 30 of 154 items)
401(k) Plans: Policy Changes Could Reduce the Long-term Effects of Leakage on Workers' Retirement Savings
GAO-09-715: Published: Aug 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2009.
Under federal regulations, 401(k) participants may tap into their accrued retirement savings before retirement under certain circumstances, including hardship. This "leakage" from 401(k) accounts can result in a permanent loss of retirement savings. GAO was asked to analyze (1) the incidence, amount, and relative significance of the different forms of 401(k) leakage; (2) how plans inform participa...
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: More Strategic Approach Needed for Processing Complex Plans Prone to Delays and Overpayments
GAO-09-716: Published: Aug 17, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 2009.
As the insurer of over 29,000 private sector defined benefit plans, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) may be required to assume responsibility for the plans of a growing number of companies filing bankruptcy due to the recession. Concerns about PBGC's benefit determination process, reductions in benefits due to guarantee limits, and workers' retirement security overall led the chairm...
Private Pensions: Alternative Approaches Could Address Retirement Risks Faced by Workers but Pose Trade-offs
GAO-09-642: Published: Jul 24, 2009. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2009.
Recent losses in the stock market and poor economic conditions underscore that many U.S. workers are at risk of not having an adequate income in retirement from pension plans. The dramatic decline in the stock market has diminished pension savings and reportedly led to low levels in older Americans' confidence in their ability to retire. Even before the current economic recession, research indicat...
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Financial Challenges Highlight Need for Improved Governance and Management
GAO-09-702T: Published: May 20, 2009. Publicly Released: May 20, 2009.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures the retirement future of nearly 44 million people in over 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. In July 2003, GAO designated PBGC's single-employer pension insurance program--its largest insurance program--as "high risk," including it on GAO's list of major programs that need urgent Congressional attention and agency action. Th...
Defined Benefit Plans: Proposed Plan Buyouts by Financial Firms Pose Potential Risks and Benefits
GAO-09-207: Published: Mar 16, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2009.
Some U.S. financial and pension consulting firms have recently proposed alternatives to terminating a defined benefit (DB) pension plan and contracting with insurance companies to pay promised benefits. In their proposals, a plan sponsor would typically transfer the assets and liabilities of a hard-frozen DB plan--one in which all participant benefit accruals have ceased--along with additional mon...
Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey Results of the Nation's Largest Private Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors
GAO-09-291: Published: Mar 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 2009.
The number of private defined benefit (DB) pension plans, an important source of retirement income for millions of Americans, has declined substantially over the past two decades. For example, about 92,000 single-employer DB plans existed in 1990, compared to just under 29,000 single-employer plans today. Although this decline has been concentrated among smaller plans, there is a widespread concer...
Private Pensions: Conflicts of Interest Can Affect Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans
GAO-09-503T: Published: Mar 24, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2009.
Conflicts of interest typically exist when someone in a position of trust, such as a pension consultant, has competing professional or personal issues. Such competing interests can make it difficult for pension plan fiduciaries and others, in general, to fulfill their duties impartially and could cause them to breach their duty to act solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries....
Private Pensions: Fulfilling Fiduciary Obligations Can Present Challenges for 401(k) Plan Sponsors
GAO-08-774: Published: Jul 16, 2008. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 2008.
American workers increasingly rely on 401(k) plans for their retirement security, and sponsors of 401(k) plans--typically employers--have critical obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). When acting as fiduciaries, they must act prudently and solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries. The Department of Labor (Labor) is responsible for prot...
Defined Benefit Pensions: Plan Freezes Affect Millions of Participants and May Pose Retirement Income Challenges
GAO-08-817: Published: Jul 21, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2008.
Private defined benefit (DB) pension plans are an important source of retirement income for millions of Americans. However, from 1990 to 2006, plan sponsors have voluntarily terminated over 61,000 sufficiently funded single-employer DB plans. An event preceding at least some of these terminations was a so-called plan "freeze"--an amendment to the plan to limit some or all future pension accruals f...
Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey of Sponsors of Large Defined Benefit Pension Plans (GAO-08-818SP, July 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-08-817
GAO-08-818SP: Published: Jul 21, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2008.
Over the last five years, a number of large, high profile employers have announced their intention to freeze-- an amendment to the plan to limit some or all future pension accruals for some or all plan participants-- their larger defined benefit (DB) plans that represent a significant portion of plan liabilities and plan participants in the private DB system. To better understand the current plan...